Younger demographics are needed to work polling stations this election
As the pandemic rages on, many remain anxious about its residual effects. Specifically, there is panic surrounding job losses with over 30 million Americans now out of work according to the Wall Street Journal, and with an election in 21 days, there is a much-needed conversation to be had about the pandemic-induced poll worker shortage.
Jordan Shaw, a senior at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell, is passionate about the issue. “Historically, 56% of poll workers are over the age of 60. This is a problem since higher risk volunteers [are] staying home to keep healthy,” he said.
Shaw also mentioned some of the detrimental effects of this shortage. According to Shaw, the poll worker shortage resulted in longer voting wait times in Georgia. In Kentucky, in-person voting was consolidated to a single polling station.
“Fewer poll workers impact polling stations and voter accessibility to cast their ballot,” Shaw said.
Fortunately, there is a solution. Shaw said that since the older age demographic is high-risk and consequently choosing to stay home, the security, safety and fairness of this election falls upon the efforts of young Americans to step up and serve as poll workers.
Currently, there is mass recruitment taking place in order to get the needed volunteers. According to Shaw, it will take 250,000 poll worker volunteers nationwide in order to help create a smooth voting process.
Although that is a hefty goal, Shaw is confident that with the help of college and university students around the nation, we can achieve this target and create a safe and secure voting experience for all Americans.